How to use online meeting tools effectively


We are a professional transcription company with 13 years’ experience of transcribing meeting notes – whether it’s audio of the actual meeting or a call report dictated after the meeting that needs to be transcribed– and we have learned a lot during this time about what constitutes a ‘good’ record that is both effective and valuable. We are experts in transcribing records of all types of meetings, and with the shift from face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings, we have identified some ways finance professionals can enhance the quality of their records that will be beneficial to them now and, indeed, in the future.

What are the best and worst types of online meeting tools for use in a professional context?

As a company, we have only limited experience of using Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams. All work well and are effective, but we make sure we change passwords regularly.

Tips for using these online meeting tools more effectively.

Of paramount importance is organisation. If you are holding a virtual meeting with two or more people, have a clear agenda and leader. This might sound obvious and something one should exercise in any meeting, but the inability to bounce off body language in a virtual setting means it is that much easier to lose cohesion and flow.

If you’re speaking to a client who perhaps isn’t used to technology, put them at ease – be patient with them. If you’re in a group session discussing various topics, ensure the correct attendees/specialists on said topics are invited to meeting. Ensure every meeting has a clear, defined conclusion and follow-up, as again, a non-face-to-face environment could be the enemy of clarity when it comes to ‘what happens next’ if this isn’t accounted for.

Finally, as you would after every meeting, complete minutes. If this is something that is an additional time drain, then use a confidential dictation and transcription service like VoiceNotes, who will deliver a word-perfect, fully proofed transcript that you can circulate with confidence to the attendees and other interested parties.

What are the common mistakes people make using them?

In our experience of working with lengthy transcripts, particularly when your sole focus is the voices coming through, we find that often a poor set-up leads to some attendees not being heard clearly, be that due to the quality of the recording device or their location and background noise. Speakers talking over one another is another hindrance when capturing what is being said, and in a virtual environment, saying, ‘Sorry, I didn’t hear so and so’ isn’t as easy as in a physical setting, which further contributes to loss of cohesion.

Finally, another common mistake is neglecting to write up meeting notes from virtual meetings, believing that a ‘recording’ of the meeting, audio or visual, is enough. A formal overview or a transcript is required to adhere to mandatory compliance requirements.

What features should you be looking for in these tools?

Continuity and inclusivity: Is your business in a position to roll out the use of these tools to all employees, so they can all benefit?

Security and reliability: If you are using an internet-based tool, consider whether it’s safe from a confidentiality point of view. The financial sector is incredibly strict where data protection is concerned, so check the app or tool is not automatically set to sync or back up recordings or video of your meetings to the Cloud.

If you choose a tool that can generate transcripts of your meetings, again, consider data control and sensitivity, as you are, in effect, giving it permission to access your content. Many of these tools and apps lack this level of security required by industries such as finance; they simply haven’t needed to have it in a pre-COVID-19 world.

What security issues should I be considering?

For every meeting, you should ensure you know where your data is being streamed or held when using these tools and check whether this meets your company’s compliance code, especially for meetings pertaining to sensitive subject matter. If there is password protection that controls who can access a live meeting or call, it should be implemented to the best of its ability.

If transcripts are required, choose an ISO-accredited transcription company specialising in the financial sector already who can complete an Information Security questionnaire and clearly evidence that they are looking after your data.

Please contact us for a FREE trial or to discuss your project.